Artist Envisions Bay Bridge Cables As A Canvas For Light

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An image of the proposed art installation on the Bay Bridge (thebaylights.org)

An image of the proposed art installation on the Bay Bridge (thebaylights.org)

MargieShafer20100909_KCBS_0346r Margie Shafer
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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Fundraising has began for a public art installation that would turn the suspension cables on the Western Span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge into a sculpture of light.

“The cables that hold up the deck of the bridge actually make a pretty interesting canvas,” said Randy Rentschler of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

KCBS’ Margie Shafer Reports:

Private money will finance the work of installing and maintaining 25,000 white LED nodes on the cables that will light up in patterns determined by traffic, weather and the often imperceptible motion of the bridge itself.

The grid of lights that will make up “Bay Lights” was designed by artist Leo Villareal, who has created similar displays at the National Gallery in Washington DC and at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago.

The display would go up in 2013, when the new Eastern Span of the Bay Bridge opens and the America’s Cup yacht race is set to take place on the bay. The installation would last for two years.

Transportation officials said the two year run would be part of an extended celebration of the Bay Bridge’s 75th anniversary. It opened in 1937.

The Bay area Toll Authority on Wednesday announced it would be the lead environmental sponsor of “Bay Lights” in order to get the project cleared so private funds can be raised.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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